At A Glance
Slingshots extensive kite line-up has been thoroughly shaken up for 2020 with the inclusion of 3 brand new kites; the Raptor V1, Rally GT V1 and Ghost V1. In these big winter winds, we were lucky enough to be able to put the Raptor V1 through its paces in some pretty memorable sessions.
The Raptor V1 has been designed for riders who seek out the biggest boosts and most exhilarating speeds and demand the build quality to back this up.
A 5-strut kite, it features a high aspect ratio shape with a hybrid open C-design, a compact pulley-less bridle system and swept segmented wingtips for better stability, response and relaunch.
The Raptor V1 is built to withstand a beating. New super durable 4x4 ripstop canopy material, Kevlar bump pads, Slingshots Splitstrut technology and reinforcements in key wear areas make this a kite which is built to last.
Sizes: 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 meters
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Compatible with both the Sentinel and Guardian bars, we headed out using the Sentinel Bar which is the same core bar, however, utilises the classic above bar trim system as opposed to below bar as seen on Guardian.
The bar itself is classic Slingshot: tough, no-nonsense and ready for action. Chunky bar ends with OS handles above have a direct connection to the core of the bar, which has a durable and grippy coating providing excellent feedback. The 3-part centre line runs through the centre of the bar cleanly with an easy to adjust stopper ball within arm’s reach.
The centre line holds a stopper ball which though not 'on the fly' can be adjusted very quickly on the beach, using a suitably sized Allen key. This is a great option to not only personalise the bar for feel but also if you do have shorter arms to be able to keep the bar in contact.
The quick release conforms to industry standards and is a simple push away release with easy reconnect. The non-moulded chicken loop is of a good size for unhooking, and the donkey slick is easy to remove if wanted.
Completing the bar are the extra strong 800/500lb Slingshot lines.
A huge top end, you will be able to push yourself further and higher with power on demand
In The Air
A new kite in a range is always a pretty exciting thing, and the first session on the Raptor V1 was no different. Quick to set up as always, the new 4x4 Canopy Tech material used in the kite ensures a high-quality feel from the offset.
We first used the Raptor V1 in less than ideal winds, slightly on the low side with plenty of rain and squalls added in for good measure. Firstly, this kite flies upwind effortlessly, and for general cruising, the kite holds an excellent park and ride feel which will benefit those slightly earlier in their kiteboarding careers.
In the lighter winds, the kite was missing a bit of that pokey feel we wanted, however, once you are powered the kite really comes into its own, and you can certainly hold it in a lot more wind than you would think per size. In the super-strong stuff, an inch or so of trim works wonders to allow you to hold your edge that bit longer for the big boosts, and this is where you can start actively flying the kite to get the best out of it.
Being higher aspect, than that of the Rally GT, the Raptor V1 does speed up on powered runs which if you are not expecting could take some getting used to in terms of stopping quickly, however, for those more experienced this simply means maximum fun and exhilaration. Boosting is, of course, the name of the game, and the Raptor V1 simply flies. It is not an aggressive rip off the water like felt with more hybrid style kites, rather an acceleration up and along; make sure you have plenty of space downwind as this kite is a traveller! There is good feedback through the bar throughout, and the kite stays direct through flight.
In the gusts, the Raptor V1 still seems to perform well, and even during those slightly unnerving (yet pretty exciting) double lifts, the kite stayed stable with good feedback and forward motion. A little down loop, or recovery loop, can get you out of some hairy situations quickly and safely. Kite loops, or even down loops, with the Raptor V1, can be thrown with relatively minimalistic consequence if you are new to looping, however, get some guts behind you and you will be able to throw monsters.
The Raptor V1 isn't really a kite designed for unhooked freestyle or waves, but as with most kites nowadays, they are crossovers. For someone who occasionally likes to pop the odd freestyle move or ride a few waves to mix into their big air riding, the Raptor V1 will be a solid choice.
Almost redundant to speak of now as it is hard to find a kite we struggle with; the relaunch is easy. As this is a kite you will be using in more powered conditions there shouldn't be the situation where you need to start swimming and pulling on lines, however, should that arise the kite flips perfectly and keeps a solid shape to re-catch the breeze.
The Raptor V1 will offer you some of your biggest boosts in a smooth and controlled manner, each time.
The low end of the Raptor V1 is not quite as good as we would have liked, however, the top end seems to go on forever which more than makes up for it.
Slingshot have clearly taken their time on this kite, and the results speak for themselves. The Raptor V1 is a clear choice in the new movement of big air and big style. A huge top end, you will be able to push yourself further and higher with power on demand for those classic big air and old school moves.
This review was in Issue 80 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Slingshot